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Is BJP scripting Ram Gopal Varma's next flop show?

March 28, 2014 13:06 IST

The filmmaker, to put it bluntly, has absolutely nothing to justify his nomination as the BJP candidate from Hyderabad, feels's Vicky Nanjappa.

The Bharatiya Janata Party plans to field film director Ram Gopal Varma from the Hyderabad constituency in the Lok Sabha election, sources say.

The BJP's political rivals suggest, with a snigger or two, that Varma may meet the same fate as his film Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag, which had redefined the term cinematic disaster.

Varma will be pitted against Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader and the sitting Member of Parliament from Hyderabad, Asaduddin Owaisi.

The Telugu Desam Party, the BJP's poll partner in Andhra Pradesh, has happily allowed the saffron party to contest the Hyderabad seat. TDP leaders know Owaisi is a tough man to defeat.

Varma, to put it bluntly, has absolutely nothing going for him to justify his candidature.

Many BJP leaders admit that fielding Varma is akin to giving away the Hyderabad seat on a platter to Owaisi.

Even the so-called 'Modi wave' -- the increasing popularity of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi -- may be unable to boost Varma's chances.

Varma, who hails from Seema-Andhra -- a region which had bitterly opposed the creation of Telangana -- is unlikely to score any political points with the pro-Telangana residents of Hyderabad.

He has also been a resident of Mumbai for many years now.

Hyderabad has a sizeable Muslim population -- nearly 30 per cent -- and the community is unlikely to vote for a non-political, non-resident and non-Muslim candidate over Owaisi.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the only other political party with a significant presence in Hyderabad, may not field a candidate as it has a tacit understanding with the MIM.

The Congress is not taken seriously as a political challenge in Hyderabad. The party is a former ally of the MIM.

The BJP had earlier considered fielding a senior leader with a national presence, like Uma Bharti, from Hyderabad. But party leaders were wary that the contest would be tinted with communal colours. Bharti has a reputation for aggressively espousing the cause of Hindutva.

The suggestion to field Varma from Hyderabad came from the BJP's ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena.

Some BJP leaders believe that party leader Dattatreya, a pro-Telangana leader for decades and a member of the Other Backward Classes, would be an ideal candidate from Hyderabad.

Dattatreya, a non-controversial leader, served in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Kishen Reddy, the state BJP president, was slated to take on Owaisi in Hyderabad. But Reddy wanted to contest from the Secunderabad constituency from where Dattatreya had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election. The BJP's central leadership conceded Reddy's request.

Image: Film director Ram Gopal Varma.

Vicky Nanjappa/ in Bengaluru